Nearly 800 sexual assault reports this year to date in Detroit

Nearly 800 sexual assault reports this year to date in Detroit

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DETROIT (WJBK) -

There have been an alarming number of rapes and sexual assaults in the City of Detroit, hundreds upon hundreds of cases so far this year.

To date, Detroit Police are investigating 778 reports of sexual assault in the city. The majority of the cases are rape.

Sources said the numbers are on the rise, and nearly eight months into the year on pace to surpass last year's startling statistic that topped 1,300.

"It's disturbing, it's disappointing, and it's disheartening," said Tracey Helms.

She is the director of Metro Detroit's YWCA Sexual Assault and Advocacy Services and works with the victims during their darkest times. Helms said what is different about Detroit than other cities is that many of the attacks are random.

"For some reason, in Detroit it is a higher instance of stranger rape," she said. "These are women that are minding their business. Provocatively dressed or fully dressed, they should have a right to be able to go to and from without being raped."

Helms attributed the high number of sexual attacks to layers of issues plaguing the city, including the economy, the culture and the living conditions.

What is even more disturbing is the number of Detroit police officers in charge of investigating these cases. We have learned the Sex Crimes Unit has only eleven detectives, a third of what it used to have to solve hundreds of cases and get sexual predators off the streets so they don't strike again.

"I am outraged because it is growing, and I don't see the resources being funneled towards this issue to accommodate the increase that we're seeing," Helms said.

"They want to bring Detroit back, but how can you do that if you don't address the ills of the city, which includes rape."

Detectives are doing their best, but there are just not enough of them.

It should be noted that those hundreds of sexual assault cases do not include the referrals, which are sex crimes involving relatives. There are usually around 400 of those, and we were told the same eleven detectives are also in charge of working those cases.

Detroit Police released the following statement:

"Based on the DPD's database, our crime stats are lower. We are working diligently with victims, however we understand this is an issue. We have partnered with the Wayne County Prosecutor's Office, and are utilizing forensic evidence to identify suspects to ensure they are prosecuted."

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